Tens of thousands of migrants from all over West Africa and beyond who are aiming to enter Europe are trapped in Morocco against their will due to EU border control policies, unable to return home due to poverty, persecution or shame at returning to their families empty handed after promising to earn money for them in Europe.
Despite the financial crisis and the austerity measures across Europe, the EU continues to pay millions of Euros to Morocco (a State with a well-known atrocious human rights record) to violently repress migrants whom the EU’s economy depends on for a cheap supply of labour.
Hundreds of migrants a week – often including pregnant women and children – are illegally deported from Morocco to the Algerian border – an inhospitable desert where they are left without food or water and where many die in the kilometers-long attempt to walk back to Morocco.
Even though it is illegal for a government to prevent someone leaving it’s territory, migrants trying to cross the sea to Europe in boats are harassed by Moroccan soldiers and marines who regularly enter Spanish waters – also illegally – to bring migrants back to Morocco, presumably with secret permission to do so by the Spanish authorities.
Ceuta and Melilla – two cities in Morocco still colonised by Spain – are each surrounded by two razor-wire-topped fences up to 7 metres high surrounded by high-tech cameras and motion detectors all paid for by the EU and patrolled by Spanish military police who regularly deport migrants back to Morocco illegally.
The EU also pays the Moroccan government to patrol the other side of the border fences at Ceuta and Melilla with armed police who in order to avoid media attention by shooting migrants, instead kill or injure them by throwing stones and beating them with clubs – again illegally preventing migrants from leaving Morocco.
Even when they are not being detained or trying to cross borders, migrants are denied rights to seek employment, access to healthcare, childcare, housing or assistance from police when victims of racist attacks from the general population, amongst whom racial prejudice against Black people is unfortunately extremely common.
After being rounded up on the street by plains clothes police using racial profiling to stop migrants for their papers, migrants are often tortured in Moroccan police stations and denied their basic human rights to legal advice, food, water, medical care or even a place to sleep.
Even migrants who are UN-recognised refugees fleeing war and persecution have no choice but to cross borders clandestinely to have a realistic chance of getting asylum in the EU and the Moroccan State does not grant asylum to refugees itself or even grant citizenship to migrants’ children born in Morocco.
Despite the murderous brutality of these policies they can never stop migration to Europe from West Africa and the number of migrants is set to increase in coming years due to dictatorship, extreme poverty and new wars in the region, where there are many valuable resources that corporations still haven’t gotten their hands on yet.